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John W. Eyster: When it comes to chemo pill bill, something better than nothing

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John W. Eyster
March 25, 2014

Reviewing Jason Stein's news article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Odds are now good that Wisconsin chemo drug bill will become law” and the Wisconsin State Journal's editorial, “Co-pay OK for chemo pill bill,” I agree with the appeal of the Wisconsin State Journal's editorial, “The Senate should accept the Assembly's change so this important legislation can move forward.”  I understand that something is better than nothing.

Every report now indicates that our WI STATE SENATE will pass the AMENDED bill as part of its last floor session this year next Tuesday, April 1, 2014.  Alert:  It is APRIL FOOLS' DAY, so be careful!

The strong appeal by the Senate's lead sponsor for the bill, Sen. Alberta Darling is telling, "The state Senate should concur on the amendment as soon as possible. Cancer patients and their families shouldn't have to wait for help any longer.”  She called the change in the assembly “reasonable.”

I appreciated our Senator Cullen's critique of the Assembly's amendment which scaled back the benefits in the nearly UNANIMOUSLY passed Senate Bill.

Jason Stein reports, “That doesn't mean everyone is happy with it.”  He writes about our State Senator Tim Cullen (D-Janesville), “ a cancer survivor and former insurance executive, criticized the amendment Monday as 'absurd and unreasonable' for a bill that had already passed the Senate nearly unanimously. Cullen stopped short of saying he would oppose the amended bill. He added that he would elaborate on his position Tuesday after he gathered more information on the issue.”

I look forward to hearing Senator Cullen's statement on this CHEMO PILL BILL in the debate of our WI State Senate next Tuesday.  In spite of the reduction of benefits in the Assembly AMENDED bill, I HOPE Sen. Cullen will vote FOR the bill unless due to OVERWHELMING YES VOTE, he chooses to vote NO to express his DISagreement with reducing the benefits!  He himself knows the TRUTH as a cancer survivor and a former health insurance executive.  I anticipate hearing TRUTH from Senator Cullen!

At the same time, I think WE THE PEOPLE of WI need to keep aware of the reasons for the way Majority Leader Vos in the Assembly tried to STONEWALL this bill because of his concern to keep the support of the health insurers who contribute to REPUBLICAN campaigns.  We also had the scandal that Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald tried to stonewall this bill until the pressures of WE THE PEOPLE of WI persuaded REPUBLICAN SENATORS to vote FOR the Chemo Pill Bill.  Forewarned is forearmed!  I discussed the ways in which Fitzgerald and Vos were stonewalling the bill 1-week ago, on Tuesday, March 18, “Speak up for cancer therapy coverage.”

The turnaround by Fitzgerald and subsequently Vos to allow a VOTE in each chamber is clearly due to the SUPPORT for the bill by WE THE PEOPLE of WI!  What do YOU think?

SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING – I hope our WI State Senate passes the Assembly amended bill in spite of its REDUCTION of benefits for cancer victims.  What do YOU hope?



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